The Complete Guide to
Published by Guild of Master Craftsman Publications Ltd, East Sussex UK
As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 171
Joint-Making is one of the four essential tasks (cutting, shaping, jointing and finishing) that comprise the construction of furniture. It is arguably the most important in determining the durability of a finished piece.
In The Complete Guide to Joint-Making, John Bullar describes a total of 34 types of joint, including not only the functional and decorative, but also some that are designed purely for display.
The book begins with an introduction to Tools and Materials. Here, there are brief notes on everything from Handsaws, Bench Planes and Marking Tools to Router Tables and Bandsaws. The notes are not merely descriptive, but include comments on the types of tool within each category and their proper use.
There are also a few notes on the choice of wood and that ubiquitous problem, wood movement.
The rest of the book is devoted to Joints. Halving Joints absorb four pages. Some brief text and a dozen photos cover the sequence of operations necessary to make the joint - from the first cut, through chiselling out the waste, checking the fit, making adjustments, then putting the joint together permanently.
Many of the joints that follow are given a similar treatment. These include the Bridle Joint, Mortise and Tenon and Locked Mortise and Tenon. (Several methods of locking Mortise and Tenon joints are covered, eg. external wedges side wedges, fox wedges, pegged and haunched tenons).
These are followed by the Single Large Dovetail, a Row of Dovetails, Fine Dovetails and Lapped Dovetails.
Bullar then turns to machined joints, starting with those made with a Biscuit Jointer and continuing with descriptions of the way in which dowel joints can be made and used. There are a couple of pages on working with the Festool Domino, a few on Slip Joints and another few on Bandsawn Dovetails. Box Comb Joints, Scarf Joints and Scribed Joints are covered, so are Routing a Mortise without a Jig, Routed Dovetails and Modern Knock-Down Fittings.
Straight Line Joints are given their own chapter describing Edge Joints, Rubbed Joints, Screw and Glue Joints, Coopered Joints, Housing and Groove Joints and Spline Joints.
The last two chapters deal with Special Joints (eg. Green Woodworking Joints, Cornice Joints, Angled Joints and Chair Joints) and Display Joints such as Puzzle Joints, Bevel-Top Dovetails and Butterfly Joints.
The clear, well illustrated description of so many kinds of joint, all in one book, should make it attractive to most woodworkers.